The Wires
The Ledes

Sunday, September 15, 2019.

New York Times: "Juanita Abernathy, who helped organize the Montgomery bus boycott and took part in other pivotal protests at the outset of the civil rights era alongside the Rev. Dr. Ralph Abernathy, her husband and a leader of the movement, died on Thursday at a hospital in Atlanta. She was 88."

Public Service Announcement

September 5: Washington Post: "State and federal health officials investigating mysterious lung illnesses linked to vaping have found the same chemical in samples of marijuana products used by people sickened in different parts of the country and who used different brands of products in recent weeks. The chemical is an oil derived from vitamin E. Investigators at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found the oil in cannabis products in samples collected from patients who fell ill across the United States. FDA officials shared that information with state health officials during a telephone briefing this week, according to several officials who took part in the call." The NPR story is here.

New York Times: "A solid 18-karat gold toilet, titled 'America' by its creator, Maurizio Cattelan, was stolen early Saturday [September 14] from an exhibit at Blenheim Palace, the Oxfordshire birthplace and family home of Winston Churchill.... The artwork is based on a common Kohler toilet and was created by a foundry in Florence. The work’s value was not disclosed, but [Guggenheim artistic director Nancy] Spector described it as 'millions of dollars’ worth of gold.'... The police said in a statement that they were investigating the burglary and that a 66-year-old man had been arrested but not charged. The toilet has not been recovered. Jess Milne, a detective inspector, noted that the toilet had been plumbed to the building, so the theft 'caused significant damage and flooding.' He said the police believed a 'group of offenders' using at least two vehicles was behind the theft." the Hill's story is here.

Modern Art. CNN: "Hillary Clinton's emails ... have become art -- and the former secretary of state herself went to take a look.The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee looked through printed copies of her emails and sat at a replica of the Oval Office's Resolute Desk during a visit Tuesday to an art exhibit in Venice, Italy, titled 'HILLARY: The Hillary Clinton Emails,' according to the exhibit's creator and curators. 'Hillary Clinton spent an hour yesterday reading her emails at my exhibition of all 62,000 pages of them in Venice,' American poet and artist Kenneth Goldsmith tweeted Wednesday. 'She is pictured here at a replica of the Oval Office Resolute Desk, stacked with her emails.' Francesco Urbano Ragazzi -- the collective name for two men who are working as the exhibit's curatorial team -- told CNN that Clinton came in for a private tour of the exhibit Tuesday morning."

... Related Washington Post story here.

     ... Thanks to NJC for the lead.

Washington Post: "the 2019 U.S. Gymnastics Championships were no different — especially Sunday night, the final night of the two-day [U.S. Gymnastics Championships]..., [Simone] Biles aced a skill no other woman (and only two men in the world) has successfully landed in competition — a triple-twisting, double somersault that capped the first tumbling pass of her floor routine like a cymbal crash":


Washington Post: White Southern plantation visitors who pay good money "to learn about the history of life on a plantation" are very upset guides mention slavery. Mrs. McCrabbie's recommendation: put on your MAGA caps & hoop skirts, watch the first 10 minutes of "Gone with the Wind," & practice saying "Fiddle-dee-dee."

Here's one for contributor Jeanne. "Margaret Atwood joins Deborah Treisman to read and discuss 'Corrie,' by Alice Munro, from a 2010 issue of the [New Yorker] magazine":

Nick Schager in the Daily Beast: "Premiering on Netflix and in select theaters on July 24, The Great Hack is the most enraging, terrifying and — I don’t use this term lightly — important documentary of the year. Directed by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim..., its subject is the Cambridge Analytica data scandal—a story that’s galling on the surface, and infinitely more bone-chilling when one considers its far-reaching ramifications. That’s because Cambridge Analytica’s deceptive and criminal relationship with, and conduct on, Mark Zuckerberg’s social media platform had world-altering consequences: helping launch the Brexit movement, and successfully aiding the election campaign of Donald Trump.” 

Guardian: “The businessman Arron Banks and the unofficial Brexit campaign Leave.EU have issued a legal threat against streaming giant Netflix in relation to The Great Hack, a new documentary about the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the abuse of personal data. The threat comes as press freedom campaigners and charity groups warn the government in an open letter that UK courts are being used to 'intimidate and silence' journalists working in the public interest. In a joint letter to key cabinet members, they call for new legislation to stop 'vexatious lawsuits', highlighting one filed last week by Banks against campaigning journalist Carole Cadwalladr.”


The Commentariat -- August 18, 2019

Afternoon Update:

Verna Yu & Lily Kuo of the Guardian: "An estimated 1.7 million people in Hong Kong -- a quarter of the population -- defied police orders to stage a peaceful march after a rally in a downtown park, after two months of increasingly violent clashes that have prompted severe warnings from Beijing and failed to win concessions from the city's government. Huge crowds filled Victoria Park on Sunday afternoon and spilled on to nearby streets, forcing police to block traffic in the area. Torrential rain came down an hour into the rally, turning the park into a sea of umbrellas. At the same time, protesters walked towards Central, the heart of Hong Kong's business district, and surrounded government headquarters. Police had turned down a plan for Sunday's march submitted by the Civil Human Rights Front group and gave permission only for a rally in the park. Those defying the ban risked being charged with unlawful assembly, which can lead to up to five years in prison."

The Greenland Story Is Not a Hoax. Zack Budryk of the Hill: "White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow confirmed on Sunday that the Trump administration is 'looking at' purchasing Greenland following reports of its interest last week." The Washington Post story is here.

Allan Smith of NBC News: "Top White House economic advisers on Sunday dismissed growing concerns that the U.S. economy is headed for a recession. National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow and White House Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro appeared on a series of Sunday political talk shows to defend the president's handling of the economy -- particularly the ongoing trade war with China -- and to downplay recent warning signs that the economy could be headed towards a downturn.... 'Meet the Press' host Chuck Todd pointed out that in 2007, just before the onset of the Great Recession, Kudlow wrote that 'there's no recession coming' and the pessimistas were wrong.'"

Andrew Kaczynski of CNN: "Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, was a founding member of a group more than a decade ago that described undocumented immigrants as 'foreign invaders' responsible for 'serious infectious diseases, drug running, gang violence, human trafficking, terrorism.' The group, State Legislators for Legal Immigration, was established in 2007, when an immigration revamp was being hotly debated in Congress. Its founding principle was that undocumented immigration represented an invasion of the United States on par with foreign invasion that should justify invoking war powers under the Constitution -- extreme rhetoric Cuccinelli has continued to use in recent years, and that has been adopted by ... Donald Trump and other Republicans."

Jon Haworth of ABC News: "An Ohio man has been arrested for making threats toward a local Jewish community center in New Middletown. James Reardon Jr., 20, has been charged with telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing and is being held in the Mahoning County Jail on $250,000 bond with a court hearing planned for Monday morning. On Friday, the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force raided Reardon's house and seized a cache of weapons and ammunition, including dozens of round of ammo, multiple semi-automatic weapons, a gas mask and bulletproof armor.... Police initially became aware of Reardon on July 11 when he posted a video on Instagram of a man shooting a semi-automatic rifle with sirens and screams in the background. He tagged the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown in the post.... Reardon is an avowed anti-Semite and white nationalist and attended the deadly 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, according to WYTV."


Jennifer Jacobs & Jacob Sink of Bloomberg: "Some top aides to ... Donald Trump sought for months for a way to give states the power to block undocumented immigrant children from enrolling in public schools -- all part of the administration's efforts to stem illegal crossings at the southern U.S. border. Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller had been a driving force behind the effort as early as 2017, pressing cabinet officials and members of the White House Domestic Policy Council repeatedly to devise a way to limit enrollment...that could be carried out without congressional approval.... Ultimately, they abandoned the idea after being told repeatedly that any such effort ran afoul of a 1982 Supreme Court case guaranteeing access to public schools." --s

Liz Sly of the Washington Post: "The global standoff between the United States and Iran took a new turn Saturday after the United States issued a warrant for the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker detained in Gibraltar, just hours after the ship was ordered released. The legal action thrust the Grace 1 supertanker into the heart of tensions between Washington and Tehran a day after a dispute over its fate between Britain and Iran had apparently been resolved. The British navy intercepted the Grace 1 off Gibraltar last month on the suspicion that it was delivering oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions. The move triggered the capture by Iran two weeks later of a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, apparently in retaliation. A Gibraltar court ordered the release of the Grace 1 on Thursday after Britain said it had received guarantees from Tehran that the ship would not deliver oil to Syria, prompting speculation that Iran would release the British ship. Instead, the Grace 1's departure may be further delayed as authorities in Gibraltar consider whether to act on the U.S. warrant...." ...

     ... A USA Today story, by Kim Hjelmgaard, is here.

Jason DeParle of the New York Times has a long piece on how Stephen Miller became Stephen Miller. Mrs. McC: I didn't read the story, except the part about Lyndon Johnson, which once again convinces me he would have been our greatest modern president but for his monumental mistake of pursuing the Viet Nam war. Oh, I did catch the part near the top where I learned Miller's first job in D.C. was working for Michele Bachmann. ...

... Nick Miroff & Josh Dawsey of the Washington Post also write a long story on Stephen Miller. "... Miller's power in the White House is at its peak, according to top administration officials. As one of Trump's longest-tenured and most trusted aides, his influence in the West Wing is rivaled only by Jared Kushner..., they say.... Among Miller's co-workers are a few who believe he harbors racist views. 'I don't know what other principle could animate such a laserlike focus,' said one former career official at DHS. Miller bristled at the claim, calling anyone who labels him a racist 'an ignorant fool, a liar and a reprobate who has no place in civilized society." Mrs. McC: Even if you thought his nativism was the best thing since white bread, you'd want to smack him upside the head. ...

... Michael Luo of the New Yorker: "... the United States has actually been a leader in developing explicitly racist policies of nationality and immigration." Mrs. McC: As Alex Ross of the New Yorker pointed out in a review of English-language books about Nazis, "Hitler praises America as the one state that has made progress toward a primarily racial conception of citizenship, by 'excluding certain races from naturalization.'" Hitler also wrote approvingly of the white American settlers who had "gunned down the millions of redskins to a few hundred thousand."

Edward Helmore of the Guardian: "The Trump administration has fired another shot in its war with the US press, suspending the credentials of Brian Karem, White House correspondent for Playboy and an analyst for CNN. The 30-day revocation was announced on Friday and echoes hugely controversial action taken against CNN's Jim Acosta in November 2018.... Karem had his pass suspended after an altercation with former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka in the White House Rose Garden in July, around a 'social media summit' convened by Trump and attended by some of his most ardent supporters. Both men attracted criticism for their behaviour.... In a statement on Saturday, White House Correspondents' Association president Jonathan Karl said the group was 'deeply concerned', as 'such a move could have a chilling effect on working journalists'."

** Asher Stockler of Newsweek: "Senator Ron Wyden blasted the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Friday after the agency's Republican commissioners blocked an attempt to fully investigate the National Rifle Association (NRA) over reports that Russia may have used the gun-rights group as a conduit for its election interference efforts, and possibly in contravention of campaign finance law.... Ellen Weintraub, chairwoman of the FEC, excoriated her Republican colleagues for their contrary votes which resulted in a 2-2 tie on Friday, preventing the inquiry from moving forward. 'For the Republican commissioners to apply [this] approach to a matter of such national importance, and in doing so turn a blind eye to the possibility that a foreign adversary secretly funneled tens of millions of dollars into a presidential campaign, is to bring their obstruction to a new and breathtakingly damaging level,' she said in a statement. The House Ways and Means Committee, the oversight body in the House of Representatives with jurisdiction over non-profit organizations, has so far declined to launch a formal probe of the NRA, though it is under the control of Democrat Richard Neal." --s

Mike Baker & Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs of the New York Times: "Hundreds of people gathered on Saturday for a rally at a waterfront park in Portland, Ore., where far-right groups faced off with anti-fascist counterprotesters and brought much of the downtown area to a standstill. President Trump weighed in on the tense situation in Portland on Saturday morning, calling out the anti-fascist group known as Antifa on Twitter and suggesting support for labeling it a terror organization. He did not mention any of the right-wing groups, although both they and Antifa have a history of using violence against their opponents."

If these officers felt empowered to attack a group of protesters in front of the public and the media, imagine what kind of violence must be taking place inside the prison, out of [sight], against vulnerable immigrants and people of color. -- Amy Anthony of Never Again Action (cited in the Washington Post) ...

... Providence Journal (August 16): "A correctional officer at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility [-- which houses ICE-detained immigrants --] has resigned a day after being placed on administrative leave.... Captain Thomas Woodworth resigned from his position ... on Friday, August 16, 2019,' [a] statement [from the facility] said. 'The incident which occurred on August 14 remains under active investigation by the Rhode Island State Police and under internal investigation by the Wyatt.'" On Wednesday night, a guard at the facility, believed to be Woodworth, apparently purposely drove his pickup truck into a group of protesters who were demonstrating against the jailing of ICE detainees. After initially stopping, the driver pushed forward as people screamed. Never Again Action, whose members were injured & endangered, demanded that Woodworth face criminal charges & that the officers who pepper-sprayed the protesters, sending three to the hospital, also face accountability. ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Woodworth is a big white guy who ostensibly worked for law enforcement. If he were a big black or Hispanic guy not connected to law enforcement, do you suppose he would have been able to walk away from such a violent incident while police investigated? ...

... When You Think Fox Can't Get Any Worse. Justin Baragona of the Daily Beast (August 16): "Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs on Thursday applauded the driver who purposely ran his vehicle through a crowd of protesters at an ICE facility, saying the man was well 'within his rights' to plow through the crowd.... Airing a clip of the incident on Thursday's broadcast of Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs set the scene by placing all the blame on the demonstrators." ...

     ... Mrs. McC Note to New Drivers: It is never, ever justified, moral or legal to use your vehicle as a deadly weapon to mow down people, even if you thought they were mean to you. ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: Baragona notes that "An official told ABC News that the driver of the truck was not an ICE employee." The other day I incorrectly IDed him as an ICE officer. The Wyatt Detention Facility is a private operation which has contracted with ICE to hold detained immigrants.

Ali Watkins, et al., of the New York Times: "... an examination of [Jeffrey] Epstein's last days by The New York Times, gathered from dozens of interviews with law enforcement officials, Bureau of Prisons employees, lawyers and others, suggests that Mr. Epstein's death came after he started to realize the limits of his ability to deploy his wealth and privilege in the legal system." Mrs. McC: The Times today is devoting a big chunk of its front-page real estate to monsters, first Stephen Miller, now Epstein.

The Bad News: Ryan Prior of CNN: "Alaska has been in the throes of an unprecedented heat wave this summer, and the heat stress is killing salmon in large numbers." The Good News: Now there will be fewer salmon for Trump, the EPA & Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy to kill off with that salmon-killing mining project they approved.

Presidential Race 2020

Has Joe Biden Paid Attention to Anything This Century? Tal Axelrod of the Hill: "... Joe Biden doubled down on his vow to cooperate with Republicans should he be elected president, saying he successfully worked across the aisle as vice president. 'There's an awful lot of really good Republicans out there,' he said Saturday at a Massachusetts fundraiser. 'I get in trouble for saying that with Democrats, but the truth of the matter is, every time we ever got in trouble with our administration, remember who got sent up to Capitol Hill to fix it? Me. Because they know I respect the other team."

News Lede

AP: “The death toll from a late-night suicide bombing at a crowded wedding party in the Afghan capital rose to at least 63 on Sunday, including women and children, officials said. The local Islamic State (IS) group's affiliate claimed responsibility for what was the deadliest attack in Kabul this year. Another 182 people were wounded in the Saturday night explosion, government spokesman Feroz Bashari said. Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi confirmed the casualty toll as families began to bury the dead. Some helped to dig graves with their bare hands. Kabul residents were outraged as there appears to be no end to violence even as the U.S. and the Taliban say they are nearing a deal to end their 18-year conflict, America's longest war.”

Reader Comments (7)

"[Stephen] Miller bristled at the claim [he's a racist], calling anyone who labels him a racist 'an ignorant fool, a liar and a reprobate who has no place in civilized society.”

Sure sounds like Neo-Nasi Miller has been hanging out way too long with Fat Bastard. Self-projection much?

August 18, 2019 | Unregistered Commentersafari

@safari: Yes, but at least I found out I have no place in civilized society -- not that I'd ever want to belong to whatever it is Stephen Miller considers "civilized society."

Seriously, Miller's "rebuttal" was, as you say, the most revealing self-analysis Miller could ever conjure, yet he doesn't have any idea that that's what it was. Most people would probably answer with some version of "Am not!" A more careful answer would be along the lines of, "I hope that's not true." But Miller, instead of using the opportunity to defend himself against a characterization he thinks is untrue, instead used it as a moment to condemn observers for expressing the obvious. He's a monster, yes, but a pathetic one.

August 18, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

So Creepy Joe Biden got sent up there to work with all the wonderful Republicans who he really, really can work with. So why couldn't they get a single Republican vote for the ACA? Why couldn't they get Merrick Garland confirmed? Couldn't even get him a hearing. Is Joe the reason Obama kept trying to get just one Republican on board for every one of his programs? And failed?

August 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterProcopius

A sensible perspective on econmonic growth, the golden calf at whose feet we worship?

The author might have talked about the way benefits could be better distributed within his revised model, but IMHO his realistic assessment of what drives economic growth and what it really means for a given population is a start.

August 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

I have spent the good part of this Sunday morning reading all about Stephen Miller. This guy got my eye way back when I suspected he was a voice to be reckoned with, the voice that evidently Trump was listening to back in the days when Bannon was cluttering the oval rug with his Cheetos and muddy shoes. In DeParle's story he inserts a photo of a meeting where you see the enlarged back of Miller's head at the head of the table; I found this picture emblematic of the power behind the throne––at least re: the immigration policies.

Stephen's father was a real estate investor––fun fact when you consider who Miller works for. Stephen became a committed conservative after reading Wayne LaPierre's "Guns, Crime and Freedom." From other sources it appears that many who attended the same High School as Miller describe him as erratic, self-serving, even racist. One student quotes him saying this after she criticized him for lying in a speech he had given:

"The truth doesn't matter; it's about what people want to hear."

So here's my take on Miller and I have taken the time to think on this because I find people like this fascinating as well as frightening. When Kate was still with us she and I had a conversation about the troubling effect abuse has had on many individuals. Parents who had been abused as children then abused their own children; children of alcoholics marry or became one; Peoples who have been treated as vermin then treat others the same and the list goes on. Stephen comes from Jewish immigrants–-his grandparents fled the Nazi regime. Did this "victim" attitude permeate the household? I also think Miller is gay and that, too, he might see as victimization. He relishes in punishing.

Miller is the one who has outlasted all the others ( although Kellyanne is still with us) who have fled or been fired from the Trump administration. This is significant––and dangerous.

What else is new?

August 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

@PD Pepe:
Do you think that Mr. Miller is a gay incel, and THAT's why he's so mean?

August 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

@Ken Winkes: I've sent you three emails today (to your personal account from an account of mine not associated with Squarespace). It appears you're not getting those, either.

It's possible you've used up your storage space on your email account. If so, you can clear out some old emails you don't want to keep to clear up some space.

August 18, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie
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